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Written by Barbara
(9/27/2005 6:24 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Charles, his children, the times, and JA's language, penned by Kalyn
I have the Daniel Poole book and have read it, but it is really not a recommended resource, being very unspecific about distinguishing between the Victorian and the Regency eras, and treating them as though they were both the same at times. There is also inaccurate information in the book.
Mr. Bingley doesn't have any children and is not criticizing his wife about her way with them while he is out shooting most of the time. As a young, single man, I guess he can spend his time however he likes.
As for JA's tone and language talking about Charles, he comes off as being basically harmless but not particularly as a great husband or father. He's civil and agreeable--a nice guy--but not a particularly useful person. We are told that he trifles his time away.
One of the things JA does to throw readers off is that she puts truths in the mouths of characters who may be disagreeable or whom we might ignore because they talk and gossip too much, such as Miss Bates and Mrs. Jennings. Many of the real 'clues' in Emma are spoken by Miss Bates but buried in her usual torrent of words. Mrs. Jennings is a gossip and we discount what she says, but sometimes it's true.
Charles does ignore Mary and leave her home alone quite a lot. His time is his own. He could easily have been there when the Crofts came to visit them, for example. He fully intended to go to a dinner party at his parents' without her.
In the same way, just because Mary is not particularly likeable in Persuasion, the reader may tend to discount what she says (taking her for a hypochondriac, etc.) but there may be truth in there.
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